Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists equipped a kayak with ocean monitoring equipment to survey coastal sand movement when a robot couldn’t handle the job, according to a report from WHOI.
WHOI oceanographers Peter Traykovski and Rocky Geyer planned to use an autonomous sea-going robot to monitor the New River Inlet on the coast of North Carolina, but shallow, dynamic water was too much for the robot to navigate.
Instead, they attached sonar imaging equipment and a GPS to a catamaran kayak with a small outboard engine.
Traykovski used the kayak to map topography of the inlet where the two bodies of water meet. He found that currents are so strong there that sediment motion resembles the aftermath of large storms seen in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Traykovski and Geyer were part of a joint effort to monitor water and sediment action in the New River Inlet for the Office of Naval Research. Other scientists from WHOI and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography studied wave action, currents, turbidity and other parameters over 30 days.
The Navy plans to use the information for aquatic landings, dredging and emergency pollution cleanups.
Image: Peter Traykovski and his catamaran kayak outfitted with scientific equipment to survey the ever-shifting sands of the New River Inlet in North Carolina. (Credit: Rocky Geyer/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)